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Cypriot Bronze Coins of Cleopatra VII with Caesarion

         Descriptions of the Two Types of Coins to be Attributed        

The great majority of ancient Egyptian (Ptolemaic) bronze coins shows a head of Zeus on the obverse rather than a portrait of one of the Ptolemaic kings that would indicate the reigning authority.  The reverses predominantly show either one or two eagles together with the legend ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ  (i.e., Ptolemy King, in Greek).   Since every Ptolemaic king from 305 to 30 BC had the same name, this legend, like the Zeus head, is not helpful in determining when a coin was produced.

Cleopatra's bronze coins, minted in Egypt, are exceptional in showing both her portrait and her name (ΒΑΣΙΛΙΣΣΗΣ ΚΛΕΟΠΑΤΡΑΣ, i.e., Queen Cleopatra).  Show Cleopatra's most common portrait bronze coin 

However, the two coins illustrated below do not show any portrait or name that would immediately indicate any specific king or queen.  If attributions are possible, they must be based on aspects of the coins other than the obverse image of Zeus or the reverse legend for King Ptolemy.

6.85g, 23mm;  Svoronos 1842: Click to enlarge


6.43g, 24mm;  Svoronos 1843: Click to enlarge

Although her name or portrait is not present on these coins, there are fortunately other features that lead to their attribution to Cleopatra. To clearly see these features --

Click on   Show useful feature of first coin  and  Click on  Show useful feature of second coin 

 So-called “control marks”, such as on each of these two coins, are often useful in attributions.  These were placed on Ptolemaic coins for several reasons:  in order to indicate a source (i.e., a mintmark), a sequence of production (i.e. a period of time) or an official in charge of production (i.e., a monogram).

With the above coins the control marks are, respectively, structured as follows --

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